Business car parking tax scrapped
TRANSPORT bosses at Bristol City Council have scrapped plans to introduce a business parking levy in the city.
Most companies in Bristol were opposed to the plans which would have meant that each firm would have had to pay £1 per day for every staff parking space.
The money raised from the so-called workplace parking levy would have been used to plug a £27 million shortfall in the funding for the £200 million bendy bus or rapid transit system.
Tim Kent, the city councillor responsible for transport, has told the Post the unpopular scheme has been scrapped because it would have sent out a negative message about the city, He also revealed there were issues surrounding how the levy would have been administered.
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Business leaders who have organised the campaign against the charges said they were delighted that common sense has prevailed and are planning a champagne toast in the city centre on Saturday.
Nottingham is the only city in the country to introduce a parking levy to help pay for its tram but there had been widespread condemnation.
Opponents in Bristol claimed the charge would send out the wrong message to businesses looking to come to the city.
Councillor Kent said: "We stopped work on the workplace parking levy several months ago and we have been involved in some delicate negotiations to find an alternative source of funding.
"Obviously there was some opposition to the levy from the business community and we took that on board.
"We were also worried that we would be seen to be damaging the reputation of Bristol as a place to do business. There were also issues on the legal side in terms of the organisation and administration of the scheme."
The council has confirmed the money will come from the business rates which the city council is allowed to keep a part of under the City Deal announced earlier this year.
Mr Kent said: "We are exploring with our neighbouring councils and business partners in the Local Enterprise Partnership the option of using the new powers over business rate retention from the City Deal.
"The new powers in the City Deal mean that business rate retention is now a more realistic option as a funding stream than a workplace parking levy.
"We now need to work quickly and effectively to come up with a solution for Bristol's remaining contribution as the final piece in the funding jigsaw."
As reported in the Post Conservative mayoral hopeful Geoff Gollop and Tory MP Charlotte Leslie had come out in support of the campaign against the levy.
Guy Kingston, from the Federation of Small Businesses, was an outspoken critic of the plans. He said: "We are delighted to hear that sense has prevailed at last.
"This decision just shows what business people can do when they put their minds to it."
James Durie, from the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, added: "We have been working with the council for the last year to look at all the different options.
"We did express concerns about anything that will have made it more difficult to do business in Bristol.
"We are very pleased that the work we have done has meant that we have been able to come up with an alternative."